Gen Muhoozi recounts his near-death battlefield experiences in Soroti.
The Senior Presidential Advisor in charge of Special Operations, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has recounted his near-death battlefield experiences in Soroti.
Muhoozi told the people of Soroti that he was deployed by President Museveni to serve under the Infantry Motorised Battalion of the then Presidential Guard Brigade (PGB) to counter the threat posed by Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) chief of staff, Tolbert Tabuley.
“The President had sent me and my unit to block Tabuley who was disturbing Teso,” Muhoozi told thousands of revelers during the Teso Baraza at Soroti Sports Grounds on Tuesday evening.
“So, we set up our ambush at Ochuna. There was fear that Tabuley would attack the Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) at Soroti-Orungo,” he added as the revelers who had ensured the scorching heat listened attentively.
“We spent the whole night in ambush. In the morning, we came into contact with Tabuley at a primary school,” he emphasised.
“The fire they (LRA) got there convinced them not to continue.”
At the time, Tabuley was the third in command of the LRA.
The former Land Forces commander said that was the first time he came under fire in the battle against Tabuley’s men.
Tabuley was a big thorn in the UPDF’s flesh.
Muhoozi revealed that, “another time, we fell into another ambush set by him at Katine in Soroti.”
He recalled: “We had spent the whole day shelling Tabuley from Atirir. As we were returning to Soroti at night, he (Tabuley) laid ambush. The terrorists lost some people there. Soon after that ambush Tabuley was killed in Anyalah, Kaberamaido by one of our units.”
“So, no one has to educate me about Teso. I know it,” said Muhoozi as the crowd cheered him on.
“People used to sleep on the road because they were scared of LRA,” he added.
“Today, we are here to thank God for the peace we are enjoying. The days of insurgencies, IDP camps and massacres are behind us. We are here to thank those who participated in those operations to bring peace. We thank all UPDF units that fought here. And also the arrow boys. We are here to thank the people of Teso for all the support they gave us.”
Muhoozi arrived in Teso on Monday to interact with the people under a Baraza and listen to their pressing issues.
The Barazas, also known as community information forums, allow local leaders to raise issues affecting their communities.
Muhoozi will later advise the President on addressing these concerns.
The presidential advisor has been holding Barazas in different parts of the country to strengthen accountability in public service delivery.
Muhoozi said security officials had briefed him on the raids by Karamojong rustlers.
“We have the issue of criminality by Karachunas. Security officials have briefed me on the raids in Katakwi, Kapelebyong and Kumi. He said since January, 244 guns have been recovered and many of the rustlers have been arrested and others prosecuted,” he observed.
Muhoozi said the cattle rustlers’ raids have reduced “due to the pressure UPDF is putting on them,” adding, “The Turkana who had been allowed into Uganda would misuse their guns and are now being turned back. They would hire guns to Karamojong.”
The UPDF General said the President also gave the Karuchunas amnesty and they are beginning to come out of the bush and voluntarily hand over their guns.
Regarding the economy, Muhoozi thanked the people of Teso for taking up citrus fruit growing which he said the government introduced to replace cotton growing.
“I know there are issues with the Soroti fruit factory to do with management and capacity. But the government is working with private investors to restructure the operations of the factory. The Government has set aside money for this process of restructuring,” he noted.
Muhoozi thanked the government of South Korea for “partnering with us in the citrus fruit growing value chain,” he added.
Muhoozi also commented on the issue of fake pesticides on the market, which he said would be addressed.
The former special forces commander also urged the people of Teso to refrain from engaging in land fragmentation.
“If you continue you will make life difficult for your children and grandchildren,” said Muhoozi, adding, “Let's preserve the lands for future generations.”
He said, “No serious farming can take place on a small piece of land. It's better to keep the land as family farms and form a family company to share profits from using the land instead of sharing small pieces of land.”
Earlier on Monday, Muhoozi addressed a rally in Bukedea attended by over 300 lawmakers. He also attended the finals of the MK Teso Cup tournament.